Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Musical Notes: Variety Shows–this month has everything.

Well, the end of summer is drawing closer.

Before we bid another fruitful musical season farewell, there’s a lot to do while the days are still long and the nights lively. Don’t miss the Dauphin County Cultural Fest early this month for some live music, artists, ethnic food and more fun for all ages. The Pride of the Susquehanna floats on with their summer shows on the river, and Italian Lake has a few more free outdoor concerts to close out the season. From some local favorite venues, we’ve got quite the selection to tune into this month. Bring a friend, grab some sunscreen, and enjoy the last waves of heat before they’re gone.

It’s always exciting when truly unique artists visit Harrisburg, and Little Amps is hosting one heck of an underground virtuoso in early August. Jack Wright has been performing solo improvisational saxophone for the past 20 years and, at 75, he’s still going strong. Wright was born in Pittsburgh in 1942 and, although he started playing the sax in 1952 and practiced in a number of bands through 1964, he took a long break from music to pursue his studies. Jumping throughout his life from professor to handyman to community organizer, Wright found his way back to music again. Since the 1980s, he has sought to find the beauty in the skilled chaos of his unsettling, yet honest, works. What appears to be disorganization and disorder is received by the audience as pure free playing, something that Wright lives by. It’s rumored that, if you ask him to play with you, he’ll likely accept. So be sure to bring your appreciation for the unconventional and your musical instruments with you to become lost in this stunning performance—and maybe catch a hot jam session if you’re lucky.

Okay, this one’s a little different for sure, but you know that it’s gonna be a good time. “The Gong Show Off Broadway” is like the absurd rescue dog of performances—part talent contest, part musical, part comedy, part Broadway revival, and all something truly unique. Originally broadcast on NBC in 1976-78, “The Gong Show” has recently been revived on ABC, executive produced by Will Arnett and hosted by Tommy Maitland (aka Mike Myers in a clever disguise). Another recent revival took place, and an adaptation was created. The show ran successfully for three years and now makes its way through Harrisburg as part of a pre-Broadway tour. Lots of musical numbers and jaw-dropping performances await from the hand-picked cast of this sure-to-be memorable and hilarious night out.

CKY, 8/29, 6PM, H*MAC CAPITOL ROOM, $20-95
This might be viewed as lazy journalism, but CKY really does an amazing job perfectly describing (in their own words) their sound, their energy and themselves as a band. “Once upon a time, CKY burned it all down, with a raucous, anarchic, hard-rock sound soaked in the skate-punk culture that birthed them and a hard-partying lifestyle onstage and off that decimated relationships and reputations in its wake. Now, CKY rises from the ashes of the aftermath with ‘The Phoenix,’ a bold mission statement that hoists the flag high for big, raw, authentic, earth-shaking rock n’ roll, liberated from useless pretense.” Wow, right? Don’t underestimate it—it’s a powerful statement for an equally powerful group. Chad I Ginsberg, frontman, guitarist and vocalist, started CKY as a duo with Jess Margera, drummer extraordinaire and cofounder. In 2005, they were joined by Matt Deis, bassist and former member of All That Remains. Since becoming a triple threat, CKY has toured with acts such as Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Deftones, building a reputation for a killer live show. Check these guys out in person, the best way to experience rock music at its finest.



Indian Summer Jars, Aug. 1, Pride of the Susquehanna

The Spill Canvas, Aug. 4, H*MAC Capitol Room

Ford Theatre Reunion, Aug. 10, J.B. Lovedraft’s

Turnpike Troubadours, Aug. 19, Whitaker Center

Opera in the Park, Aug. 19, Italian Lake

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Aug. 30, The Abbey Bar

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